Changes in Sense of Taste

Perimenopause and/or menopause impacts various aspects of a woman’s body, and while some symptoms are well-known, others might be more unexpected. Changes in taste or smell are among the lesser-known menopause symptoms that can catch women off guard.

What causes changes in taste and smell during menopause? For some women, declining estrogen levels can lead to reduced saliva flow from the salivary glands. Saliva is necessary for breaking down food into individual chemicals, which taste buds identify as distinct flavors. Consequently, having less saliva and dry mucous membranes may alter or diminish taste sensations. Taste buds do not regenerate as quickly after menopause, leaving fewer healthy ones available for detecting flavors.

Are changes in taste and smell linked to any specific stage of menopause? If the changes in taste and smell are related to decreasing estrogen levels, they can occur at any stage of menopause.


  1. Altered taste perception: Experiencing a metallic or bitter taste, or noticing that familiar foods taste different.
  2. Dry mouth: Reduced saliva production leading to a feeling of dryness in the mouth.
  3. Sensitivity to certain tastes or smells: Increased sensitivity to specific flavors or odors.
  4. Oral discomfort: Pain or burning sensation in the mouth, tongue, lips, or gums.


  1. Hormonal fluctuations: Decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone during menopause can affect taste buds and alter taste perception.
  2. Dry mouth: Declining estrogen levels can lead to reduced saliva production, which affects the taste of food and beverages.
  3. Medications: Certain medications used to manage menopause symptoms, such as hormone replacement therapy, may cause changes in taste as a side effect.
  4. Oral health issues: Hormonal changes can impact oral health, leading to gum disease or tooth decay, which can in turn affect taste.

Risk factors

  1. Age: As women age, their taste buds may not regenerate as quickly, leading to changes in taste perception.
  2. Genetics: Some women may have a genetic predisposition to experience changes in taste during menopause.
  3. Smoking: Smoking can affect taste buds and increase the likelihood of experiencing taste changes during menopause.


  1. Reduced appetite: Altered taste perception may lead to a decrease in appetite or enjoyment of food.
  2. Nutritional deficiencies: Changes in taste may cause individuals to avoid certain foods, potentially leading to nutritional deficiencies.
  3. Oral hygiene issues: Dry mouth, a common symptom associated with taste changes, can lead to oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.
  4. Emotional impact: Changes in taste and smell can affect overall quality of life, potentially causing stress, anxiety, or depression.


Management of changes in sense of taste due to menopause:

  1. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help alleviate dry mouth and maintain adequate saliva production, which can improve taste sensation.
  2. Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and use an alcohol-free mouthwash to help prevent oral health issues that could contribute to taste changes.
  3. Visit your dentist regularly: Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help identify and address any oral health problems that might affect your sense of taste.
  4. Adjust your diet: Incorporate a variety of flavors, textures, and spices in your meals to make them more appealing and stimulate your taste buds.
  5. Use sugar-free gum or lozenges: Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free lozenges can help stimulate saliva production and alleviate dry mouth symptoms.
  6. Consider over-the-counter products: Dry mouth relief products, such as oral moisturizers or saliva substitutes, can help manage dry mouth symptoms and improve taste sensation.
  7. Manage medications: If you suspect that a medication is affecting your sense of taste, consult with your healthcare provider about potential alternatives or adjustments to your treatment plan.
  8. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): For some women, HRT may help alleviate menopause-related symptoms, including changes in taste. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if HRT is appropriate for you.
  9. Alternative therapies: Some women find relief from menopause symptoms through alternative therapies such as acupuncture, herbal supplements, or relaxation techniques. Always consult with your healthcare provider before trying any alternative treatments.
  10. Seek professional help: If changes in taste are significantly affecting your quality of life, consult with your healthcare provider for guidance and potential treatment options. They may refer you to a specialist, such as an otolaryngologist, who can evaluate your symptoms and recommend appropriate management strategies.